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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

High-Performance Compact Cameras

These top models strike the best balance between size and capabilities

Labels: CamerasDSLRsCompacts

This Article Features Photo Zoom

SIGMA DP2x

TOP FEATURES
Video: 320x240/30p
Eye-Level Finder: Optional optical
RAW-Capable: Yes
List Price: $800
SIZE/WEIGHT
Dimensions: 4.5x2.3x2.2 inches
Weight: 9.2 ounces
A companion to the DP1x, the new DP2x features the same Foveon X3 sensor and specs, but with a fast 24.2mm ƒ/2.8 that’s equivalent to a 41mm lens on a 35mm camera. Like the DP1x, the DP2x is a third-generation model, with improvements in image processing, shooting speed and battery life. Besides their elegant simplicity, the DP cameras feature a built-in pop-up flash unit and a hot-shoe for an accessory unit (or optional clip-on optical finder).

Verdict: For single-focal-length simplicity with Foveon image quality, the DP2x is a more moderate focal length alternative to the wide-angle DP1x.


Power: Li-ion BP-31
Sensor:
4.7x3 MP APS-C CMOS, 20.7x13.8mm
Lens: 41mm ƒ/2.8 (35mm equivalent)
ISO Range: 100-3200

LCD Monitor: 2.5-inch, 230K
Max. Burst Rate:
3 fps
Media: SD/SDHC


SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-HX100V

TOP FEATURES
Video: 180/60p
Eye-Level Finder: EVF
RAW-Capable: No
List Price: $449
SIZE/WEIGHT
Dimensions: 4.7x3.5x3.7 inches
Weight: 20.2 ounces
Featuring a 16.2-megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 30x optical zoom lens, the HX100V can capture 42.9-megapixel Sweep Panorama images, plus zoom in on distant subjects with a 35mm-equivalent reach of 870mm (the ƒ/5.6 maximum aperture at the 870mm end is pretty impressive, too). Optical SteadyShot stabilization keeps things steady at those long focal lengths. High-speed AF, three-shot in-camera HDR, 10 fps capture at full resolution, 1080/60p full HD video, a built-in GPS/Compass function and more complement full manual control for the serious shooter.

Verdict: A huge zoom range, fast burst rates and favorite Sony features like Sweep Panorama make the DSC-HX100V one of the most versatile compact cameras available today.


Power: Li-ion NP-FH50
Sensor:
16.2 MP CMOS, 1/2.3-inch
Lens: 29-870mm ƒ/2.8-5.6
ISO Range: 100-3200

LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch, 921K nari-angle
Max. Burst Rate:
10 fps at full res
Media: MS Duo SD/SDHC/SDXC


SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-WX10

TOP FEATURES
Video: 1080/60i
Eye-Level Finder: None
RAW-Capable:No
List Price: $279
SIZE/WEIGHT
Dimensions: 4.5x2.3x2.2 inches
Weight: 9.2 ounces
The DSC-WX10’s forte is speed. During autofocus, a magnetic coil moves the lens linearly, achieving focus with a straight back-and-forth motion rather than through rotation. A 7x G-series Zeiss zoom lens, three-shot in-camera HDR and manual control when you want it are assets. Intelligent Sweep Panorama and 3D Sweep Panorama make it easy to produce effective wide-format shots, while 10 fps still shooting at full resolution complements 1080/60i video capability.

Verdict: A terrific value, the DSC-WX10 packs many of Sony’s best camera technologies into a diminutive package with an easy price.


Power: Li-ion NP-BG1
Sensor:
16.2 MP CMOS, 1/2.3-inch
Lens: 26-182mm ƒ/2.4-5.9
ISO Range: 100-3200

LCD Monitor: 2.8-inch, 460K
Max. Burst Rate:
10 fps at full res
Media: MS Duo SD/SDHC/SDXC



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